By: Bethany Rae
The idea that cannabis and fitness can go hand in hand surprised me at first.
I’ve discovered that, when used with intention, cannabis can provide energy, endurance, pain relief from sports injury, and can speed up muscle recovery.
Exercise is one of the main ways I take care of my physical and mental health. When using cannabis for its medicinal properties, I find it’s best consumed in conjunction with exercise, clean food, proper rest, meditation and self-care.
With some experimentation and ongoing research, cannabis has become a reliable pre- and post-workout supplement for me. Let’s smash some stereotypes, while I share the reasons and the techniques behind how I enhance my outdoor exercise routines with cannabis:
Microdosing cannabis helps me focus
When I consume a small, measured dose of cannabis, my mind is relaxed and focused. In this relaxed mental state, anxiety and negative thinking recede and limitations are reduced.
For example, when doing a technical trail run, the times, distances and challenges that I set for myself become more easily obtainable and I can often achieve better results when in this focused state. Even the smallest microdose can help me discern better when my body can push through and take the longer trail route, or the steeper way up the mountain. Microdosing even helped me to beat my own personal best at the Grouse Grindtwice this year.
My go-to way to microdose before I workout is by vapourizing a sativa-dominant hybrid strain with my portable vapourizer.
Cannabis enhances the mind/body/nature connection
I am constantly blown away by the beauty in Canada but like many people, can sometimes take the magnificence of our beautiful province for granted. Consuming cannabis before or during an outdoor workout, particularly anything repetitive, helps me feel more aware of my surroundings.
Cannabis can heighten the senses and for me that’s a major benefit when adventuring outdoors. It means really taking in everything with my eyes, smelling the scents of the forest and ocean more deeply, hearing the birds above me and the crunch of pine needles below my feet, or my paddle whooshing through the water.
My favourite way to enhance mind body connection is by consuming a low dose of THC oil drops under the tongue, often referred to as cannabis tinctures.
Cannabis topicals help muscle recovery
I live for outdoor fitness adventures, whether it’s road biking to the top of Cypress, cross country skiing, or backpacking to alpine lakes. Pushing myself to complete these outdoor challenges often results in sore muscles.
Properties of cannabis, when applied topically (to the skin), target inflammation in that area and have been dramatically effective in helping me reduce muscle recovery times. Cannabis topicals are not known to induce a high so they are an excellent way for an athlete to introduce the natural benefits of cannabis into their life.
Whether sun, rain, sleet, or snow, I can’t stay inside for very long without feeling restless so discovering cannabis topicals in my 30s has been a major advance in my fitness habits and healthy lifestyle.
When applying to muscles I prefer cannabis topicals that are easy to apply (in a stick). These products are often referred to as rubs or balms.
Cannabis for pain relief
Even with precautions and extensive stretching and warmups, sports injuries can often be a fact of life—or at least they are for me. My joints take so much impact when mountain biking or running and I’ve noticed that cannabis is having a positive effect.
Besides muscle recovery and reduced inflammation, cannabis is a known analgesic, great for pain relief. With it’s natural anti-inflammatory properties I’ve found it targets pain and stiffness right in the area where it’s needed (topicals) or for full body relaxation and recovery overnight.
I find consistent results for pain relief, and improved sleep, when consuming a small amount of an edible or a low dose capsule.
Cannabis instead of alcohol
A beer or three with friends after a sporting event is a fairly standard activity but the long term effects of drinking often play on my mind as a health and fitness enthusiast.
I’ve found that my light cannabis consumption has reduced the amount of alcohol I consume in a social or private setting. While alcohol can be stress relieving and a social lubricant, I found that it was leading to stomach trouble, loss of control and a hangover.
I find instead that the right strain of cannabis can increase my creativity, provide social energy and deepen the conversations, and be motivation to better care of my physical self.
As you can see, the lazy stoner stereotype is slowly becoming a thing of the past. With education and intentional consumption, cannabis can be motivation to move. Find out more at a Flower & Freedom fitness class in Vancouver, and leave a comment below on how you use cannabis in your exercise regime!
Originally published in Georgia Straight.
Disclosure: The information shared in this post is a personal experience and not to be considered medical or legal advice. Please consult with a health practitioner and seek legal counsel on the cannabis laws in your area.